By ED & BETTY BIITTIG
Our Super DIRT Week started on Tuesday evening at Bill and Kim Shea’s Utica-Rome Speedway. It’s hard to believe this was the only race we would see at the Vernon oval this season. The field of cars was impressive, some 47, 358 Mods, 36 Sportsman and 30 Sprint cars that were looking to take home $3000 prize money along with the Cole Cup. With a total of 113 racers we were treated to some great racing.
Some of our time was spent in the tower sitting with a good friend, former promoter, Gene Cole. We always enjoying a chance to sit with Gene for a few reasons, first Gene is a real Modified race fan and a former racers himself. Gene also has much knowledge on running a speedway in a first class manner. We look forward to seeing him and Gloria in Florida during our time there this coming winter.
While in the pit area we snapped a photo of Mat Williamson as we don’t get to see him run that much but we have followed his successful season this year and in the past. Mat has been successful at a few different tracks. He has eight wins at Lernerville and five at Merrittville, two at Freedom and one at Brighton this season. After he finished third in his heat on Tuesday we asked him what he thought of Utica-Rome for his first time being there. He said he didn’t know what to compare it to. He must have been able to bring knowledge from some of his successes this season because at the end of the 100-lap Modified feature Mat added one more victory to his total wins. By lap 67 he was running eighth and by lap 89 he passed former track champion, Stewart Friesen for the lead. He was more that happy in victory lane. It’s alway great to see a driver conquer one more track and milestone in his career.
Wednesday we made our way to the home of Super DIRT Week, Oswego Speedway and this year it looked to be much better weather than last. The weather can make such a big difference. Many campers had already taken their place on the grounds.
We made our way to the credential window where we talked with some of the best at what they do and always with a smile and a friendly greeting. The leader of the group at the sign in window is Gina seen here with Jillian out of DIRTcar headquarters in Charlotte, NC. We are always glad to see Gina at SDW and at Volusia Speedway in February.
On Thursday the racers took to the Oswego oval for many laps of practice prior to time trials that were scheduled for later in the day. The track held up well, much better than last year. Well over 110 cars took time divided between 358 Mods and big block Mods. The top six in 358’s were Tim Fuller on the pole, Matt Sheppard, 2nd; Mat Williamson, 3rd; Peter Britten, 4th; Pat Ward, 5th and Erick Rudolph, 6th. After the 358 Mods were finished qualifying the Mods were up. Top six in Mods were Matt Sheppard on the pole, Rick Laubach, 2nd; Billy Decker, 3rd; Keith Flach, 4th; Dom Buffalino, 5th and Tim McCreadie, 6th.
Many wondered if the change of venue to Oswego from the New York State Fairgrounds would eliminate all the atmosphere that was known as Super DIRT Week. We can attest to the fact that we just moved the party to a new location. One great thing at Oswego is the access to the drivers when they are not in competition. Another good thing this year was the weather. What a difference a year makes. For us to move from the mile at the fairgrounds to a half mile seems only fitting as many of the racers compete weekly on that size or smaller. The had work of DIRTcar to get everything in shape was seen all around. We snapped this photo of DIRTcar CEO, Brian Carter operating a large roller on the grounds around the speedway.
“It doesn’t get any better than this.” Alan has five wins this season, three at Canandaigua, two at Outlaw Speedway bringing his career total to 549. 121 of Alan’s career wins have been at the “Land of Legends”, Canandaigua. Alan has been behind the wheel of a racer since 1974. He has won the Super DIRT Week event three times.
On Saturday we watched as three former Super DIRT Week winners were in the non-qualifier’s event, Alan Johnson, Danny Johnson and Frank Cozze. At the end it was great to see all three make the big race on Sunday.
After the 150-lap 358 Modified event we spoke with winner, Matt Sheppard and second place, Mat Williamson. It was great to hear the respect they both have for each other. With the win, Sheppard now has 38 wins this season at 15 different tracks giving him a career win total of 305.
As we walked through the pit area we spotted some people from home who were talking with Keith and Chelsea Flach. The Holts, Dave and Kelly of Esperance had met the Flach’s at Weedsport earlier in the season and had become immediate fans. They had met the Flach’s through a crew member, Adam.
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